This crape myrtle was discovered by chance at the USDA-ARS Subtropical Horticulture Research Station in Miami. Geneticist Alan Meerow reports that it may have the "largest, brightest, and most striking flowers" among dozens of commercially available trees. Native to India and Southeast Asia, it's commonly known as Pride-of-India or queen's crape myrtle, and it's been grown in tropical areas worldwide. Unfortunately, that means that this new crape myrtle will -- at least for the time being -- be available only in South Florida nurseries and garden centers.
According to Meerow, 'Big Pink' will attain a height of 19 feet in five years and bloom from March into autumn. 'Big Pink' was discovered in Puerto Rico; scientists collected seed, grew the trees outdoors in Miami and ultimately selected just six seedlings. Of those, two stood out for large flowers and bright hues. Cuttings have been grown for more than 10 years with no problems of pests or disease. Sounds like a winner, and maybe global warming will slowly allow it to do well farther North.